Video distribution is nothing new and it would be one of the most requested services. When distributing video, it can be easier said than done. There is a lot of things to take into consideration and my recommendation is to not cheap out on the products that go into it. NZAV have tried many different brands and we have found that using cheap cables and equipment will always lead to failures.
Video distribution used to be relatively simple back in the day. With the rise of mixed resolutions (4k panels, 1080p ect) plus HDCP (Copy Protection Protocol), it has become complicated and managing EDID and using scalers have become very important. That is why you should always use AV Integrators to install your video distribution system.
The main reason you should not use cheap products is that it is not made for commercial applications. Most bars, restaurants or any other premises like bowling allies, products like TV's tend to be on for a longer period of time than most in-home use cases. This leads to huge amount of heat building up. If the products are for domestic purposes, they will tend to blow or short out.
That may be annoying in a home but for commercial applications, it can lead to loss of income.
Should You Use HDBaseT or AVoIP and What Is The Difference?
Extending HDMI signals has it's limitations. HDMI cables are limited in how far you can run. Fro 4K signals you should never use HDMI cables that are longer than 7m (10m max). For 8K or 4K120 signals, the max distance is 3m. So what is the solution? There is a technology on the market called HDBaseT. This tech allows you to convert HDMI signals and run it over a category cable like CAT6. Depending on the signal bandwidth (4K60 =18Gbps), you can run this signal for about 100m. Make sure that you always use products with the HDBT logo on the packaging to make sure that nothing goes wrong. There are products that do the same thing but because it is not HDBT certified, it can lead to blowing up your HDBT projectors or displays. This is because this technology can push power over the ethernet cable. If that power goes is transmitted over a different strand than HDBT, the projector or display can route that cable to a different area where power is not supposed to be. This can only result in one thing.........BANG
AV over IP
AVoIP is very similar technology in the fact that it uses Category cable to transmit video signals. This is where the similarity ends. AVoIP sends the Audio and Video signal into a network by using encoders and decoders, instead of transmitters and receivers. Any encoder connected to the network can send video signals into the network and any decoder can grab the AV signal from the decoders. This allows for more flexibility, especially when it comes to scale. Although you can have 16 input by 16 output HDBT Matrixes, HDBT is more limited and more expensive when it comes to scaling the video distribution. With AVoIP, you can easily have a 50x50 (input x output) or even a 20x100 system.This is a great thing about AVoIP but there is a cost related to this. You sacrifice quality as the video signal is heavily compressed to cater for this.
Decide whether flexibility or quality is more important before choosing which protocol you want to use.
In a nutshell, for domestic use cases, I would always recommend HDBT for all your HDMI extension. When colour accuracy or picture quality is not the most important part of the installation but scale is, I would use AVoIP as your solution. Take a bowling ally for example. The small screens that are above each ally does not require amazing colour accurate images and there may be up to 25 panels distributed through out the venue. NZAV would recommend AVoIP in that situation.